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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Connection through Giving/Receiving

Welcome to Connection, with Guest Editors Tanya McDonald & Kelly Sauvage Angel

The challenges of 2020 have taught us many things, perhaps most significantly the importance of connection—connection with others, connection with one’s self, connection with the natural world. For those who lack a strong support network, the isolation of the past several months (amid job loss, political unrest, violent crime, etc.) has proven traumatic. For others, re-crafting relationships as virtual has been to a lesser or greater degree fulfilling. Only time will reveal how successful we’ve been in nurturing our most treasured connections. We invite you to contemplate what connection means to you, how you’ve come to navigate feelings of isolation, and ways in which you might more fully tend to your relationships (including the one with yourself!) going forward.

next week’s theme: Connections Found

The past few months have been a particularly isolating time for many people. We have been unable to gather with friends, loved ones, and even strangers like we used to do. Yet in spite of social distancing, people have found ways to connect, sometimes to a greater extent than they did pre-pandemic. This week, please send us your haiku/senryu that explore connections you’re celebrating this year.

The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday January 02, 2021.

Please submit one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme by clicking here: Contact Form. Please put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box, & include your name as you would like it to appear, & your place of residence, with your poem.

A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week.

Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.

below is Tanya’s commentary:

here’s to the masked stranger
handing over
the only ripe mango

Dana Rapisardi

This senryu depicts both giving and receiving. While it lacks the traditional two-part structure of many haiku/senryu, there is a delightful, celebratory aspect to it. It reads as if the poet has raised a glass to toast the selfless act of a stranger. And not just any stranger, but a masked stranger, which places it in a contemporary setting during the pandemic, a time when frenzied buying and hoarding has taken place and the supply chain has struggled to keep up with this surge in demand. Yet here’s this stranger, handing over the only ripe mango to another stranger, and that simple act is worth acknowledging, worth honoring in a poem.

This is what haiku (or in this case, senryu) are about: acknowledging the little details in our lives and sharing them with others. There is a courage and generosity in this act of sharing, whether it be with friends or with strangers. And there is an art to saying just enough, but not too much, trusting and inviting the recipient to interpret the poem without explanation. This senryu does a fine job of that. We are allowed to do our own thinking, to bring our own experiences to the poem so it can reverberate within the context of our own unique lives. Perhaps a similar experience happened to us, or perhaps we have been that masked stranger, relinquishing an item in a store or market so that another might have it. In any case, our lives are richer for having shared in the poet’s experience.

below is Kelly’s commentary:

bowl of rice
between the three of us
a quiet spring night

Richa Sharma

On any day in any season of any year, this ku would have garnered my attention. The simple sustenance of a bowl of rice shared among, presumably, family on an uneventful evening speaks to the inherent joy of commensality. There is no longing for extravagant culinary fare, no need to engage in activity. Those present appear content to enjoy one another’s company in easy silence.

However, when taken in the context of the spring just past, the scene unfolds in layers unique to the time. Perhaps this family has little to eat in the midst of lockdown. Suddenly, with the onset of the pandemic, “the three of us” have out of necessity become one. Though they appear to be together in harmony, they likely are able to spend time with no one else. And, the night, maybe bustling in other springtimes, is still as community members remain within their homes.

Regardless, the air of simplicity, harmony and rightness offered by this poem is received, in this reader’s experience, as a gift, for within the moment as presented, we are brought into a sanctuary of acceptance, resilience and perhaps even love.

below are the rest of the selections:

new year
mom gives me
the first snowdrop

Stoianka Boianova


midnight metro
sharing my haiku
with a stranger

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia


the cat’s offering
of a dead bird

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, California


Secret Santa
every child in the class
with a gift to give

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


a leaping hare—
I unwrap
your surprise

Dorothy Burrows


dry bread—
a robin sings
in the snow

Nazarena Rampini


New Year’s graveyard tipple
sharing with Granny
her favorite schnapps

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia


my neighbor’s key
hanging by the door
just in case

Alice Barrett
Goshen, Massachusetts


The sound of cicadas—
I rush to water the plant
of the uninhabited house

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi


ripening figs
fallen off the tree . . .
ants gather

Daniela Misso


a sweeter scent—
these flowers
for no reason

Terri L. French


Christmas gift
mom says all she wants
is my time

Vandana Parashar


children with leucemia
regift smiles

Guliz Mutlu
Istanbul, Turkey


care home visit—
holding both sides
of the conversation

Nick T


her old writing case
all those people
who do not want it

John Hawkhead


blinking cursor
I gift myself
a new poem

Shloka Shankar
Bangalore, India


frost columns—
small tenement houses
of the spirits

Teiichi Suzuki


my heart for a hug—
the snow falls thick
in winter garden

Dennys Cambarau


a full meal
on a plantain leaf—
eyes brim with tears

Priti Aisola


coats hung along a fence anonymous

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Huntsville, Alabama


a beggar splits his lunch
with a stray dog

Sanela Pliško


new stage of life—
teenager gives his marbles
to his little brother

Tomislav Maretić


Christmas Eve . . .
for a stray cat in the porch
a few dried shrimps

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India


fracture—other hands do what mine can’t

Pris Campbell


New year’s day
the street musician receives gifts
but not love

Tsanka Shishkova


“I want nothing!”
the goldfish comes to surface
with its belly up

Bakhtiyar Amini


Christmas Eve—
listening to friends’ sorrows
a way to hug

M. Julia Guzmán


surprise gift—
time shared freely
as breath

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


a clutch of gardenia
for my old neighbour—
the warmth of her smile

Madhuri Pillai


Christmas star
I share my binoculars
with an unknown child

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

Guest Editor Tanya McDonald (she/her) is known for her bright plumage and her love of birds. An active member of Haiku Northwest since 2008, her haiku, rengay, and haibun have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She has judged various contests, taught haiku workshops, and served as Regional Coordinator for the Washington State region of the HSA. In June 2020, she launched her new, biannual, print haiku journal, Kingfisher. A Touchstone Award winner and a New Resonance poet, she lives near Seattle.

When not penning ku, Guest Editor Kelly Sauvage Angel (she/her) can be found logging miles on the Ice Age Trail. She is the author of Scarlet Apples and Cream, a long out-of-print poetry collection, as well as the novella Om Namah, recognized as a finalist in the 2016 IPPY Awards. Prolific in nature, Kelly’s work has appeared most notably in the white spaces of discarded receipts and utility bills.

Lori Zajkowski is the Post Manager for Haiku Dialogue. A novice haiku poet, she lives in New York City.

Managing Editor Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, and her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). Find her at:

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I can’t seem to find the form to submit to this today. Can someone guide me to it? Thank you.

  2. Thank you to all the writers and to Tanya and Kelly. Another thought-provoking and great selection plus two incisive and helpful commentaries. This poem has lingered in my mind because the moment it creates is both poignant and powerfully visual…

    a beggar splits his lunch
    with a stray dog

    Sanela Pliško

  3. A week of lovely haiku and senryu. I’d like to pick out this one for special attention – who hasn’t been inhabited by the ‘leaping hare’ from time to time…
    a leaping hare—
    I unwrap
    your surprise
    Dorothy Burrows

    1. Many thanks, John, for your feedback. I am glad that you liked the idea of the ‘leaping hare’ ! I very much enjoyed your poem too. I have an old writing case that nobody else wanted, so your poem brought back memories.

  4. Christmastime
    the cat’s offering
    of a dead bird

    Jackie Chou

    A quotidian coincidence, where life (and death) goes on despite our rituals.

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